Movies

We intend to launch localised channels in APAC countries: Sushruta Samanta

MUMBAI: It’s been a hectic time for Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zeel), having forayed into the Thai market with Zee Nung just last week.  However, Zeel Asia Pacific (APAC) business head Sushruta Samanta took time out from his busy schedule to speak to indiantelevision.com about the future roadmap of the newly-launched channels as well as further expansion plans of the company in the APAC region. Excerpts...

 

What is Zeel’s strategy in the APAC region?

 

There are two kinds of markets in APAC. One is the already developed markets including Japan and Korea, China could also be a part of it but it’s still developing in terms of GDP and Media at a faster pace. These three together would probably be 65 per cent of APAC, excluding India. The remaining are the emerging markets that are growing at a very fast rate in terms of pay TV penetration as well as economy and GDP size. In terms of sizing, excluding India, pay market in the rest of APAC would be approximately $45 billion in terms of net ad and subscription revenue put together.

 

From the Zeel perspective, we have a two-prong strategy: one is how do we enter bigger markets that are already kind of Red oceans in nature, second is the new emerging fast-growing markets where we believe it is the right time to enter. Pay business is such that the later you enter, the higher are the entry barriers, issues like bandwidth, placement, carriage and others. So, timing is very critical.

 

In the emerging markets, where we did our feasibility research first, there are three kinds of business models we target. The first part is where we take our Indian channels and connect with the Indian viewers. This is the NRI and PIO population. They are the ones who want to connect and consume Indian content the Indian way, with the same language and packaging, probably with additional subtitling only.

 

The second is the local audience. This is a much bigger segment and the one we prefer to connect through repackaging and redirection of our content. When we conducted our research in selected APAC countries, we identified specific countries we wanted to enter first. These are the markets where we saw a huge connect and an affinity for Bollywood and Indian content. The general population in these markets would love to consume Indian content if it is repackaged well as per their taste, language and culture. In some markets, dubbing works well while in others, they prefer to consume the content in the subtitled format. The third is to create content locally when the time and opportunity is right.

 

How has the APAC business shaped up for Zee Bioskop and what are the plans for Zee Nung?

 

We started with research and focus groups in key cities in Indonesia and designed the product based on those inputs. We are already on four key platforms in Indonesia including Aora TV, Kompass, Orange TV, Transvision and are scheduled to launch on two more now. Zee Bioskop is currently reaching out to half a million pay TV homes there. Indonesia is an interesting market as it has more than nine DTH operators along with cable operators operating separately. It is a small pay penetration market but growing at a quantum speed now. The 2013 subscriber base saw a growth of more than 35 per cent over 2012. This trend is expected to continue and is hence an important market for us at this point of time. We have an office in Jakarta for the first time and a local team under Maria Liza, country head Indonesia, driving this business.

 

Once we launched Zee Bioskop, we realised that the model was working well in Asia Pacific and we looked at the second market identified earlier during our research and entered Thailand with Zee Nung. One critical aspect of this business model is that we are very clearly a pay channel model, which means we make platforms believe in our product and they are then ready to share the revenues per subscriber basis. In Thailand, we launched on Cable Thai Holding (CTH), the biggest pay operator in the market, because they thought the product will work really well. Zee Nung is on FTA mode till 15 June for mass trial after which we will convert it to pay mode. Veria Living is next in line. In Thailand, CTH has a market penetration of 65 per cent and we are in talks with them for other products as well including Veria. We also opened an office in Bangkok headed by Vaishali Kasturia, Country Head Thailand who is driving the business locally.

 

3) What is the long term goal for Zeel in APAC?

 

We were the first to launch channels targeting Indians across the world but their number in APAC will be very less, less than even 1 per cent of the total population in the region. The main audience will have to be the locals in these countries, which is the mainstream segment and a far bigger revenue pie. Once our strategy of these repackaged & redirected channels is successful, the next step will be to move to the next level and create locally produced content and probably a completely local channel.

 

In Indonesia we are planning to do local production with Zee Bioskop once we start our ad sales for the channel. We are currently not doing ad sales because we want to give the initial value to consumers and boost to the channel. We will start with a reality show down the line and a year or a year and a half later, we will look at regular production of local content for the market. These will compete directly with the local channels.

 

Launching movie channels first is the base for understanding the market insights and viewing behaviour, setting up a strong local team and then slowly getting in with local content production. We first want to establish the Zee brand at the household level. Brand Zee has a very strong equity in APAC but we need to transfer that to the viewer level. Once that happens, we will extend it to local channels.

 

4) What is the business model for movie channels?

 

We have a library of more than 3,500 Indian movies, one of the largest in the world, and we can use that to our advantage to launch channels. We are focusing on subscriber revenue more than advertising because it is bigger and growing faster in this region. At Zee, we are also very particular on our branding and positioning strategy in each of these countries. We have some of the best agencies working for us, eg Grey for Zee Nung, FCB Jakarta for Zee Bioskop and Lowe for the upcoming channel in Vietnam. These initiatives will also play a crucial role in popularising Bollywood to the masses in these countries.

 

5) What is the contribution of the APAC business to Zeel’s entire international business?

 

The contribution of APAC to our international business is relatively low as compared to the other territories at this point of time. However, with the series of channel launches planned, we are looking at quantum growth and increase of our share in the next couple of years. The APAC ARPU at consumer levels fluctuates widely by country; however, the average is about $7.5. Markets like Thailand and Indonesia are above the average on key platforms that we are targeting. 

 

6) Which are the other APAC markets that Zeel is targeting?

 

We are the only Indian channel to have been given the hotel landing license in China which is a big deal, we are now looking at making that business grow big and also create possible products targeting the mainstream Mandarin audience. We would also like to look at markets like Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka with a cost effective model to launch since their market sizes are not that large yet but growing fast. Japan, Australia and New Zealand are also big markets and we are currently doing our feasibility researches to identify and design suitable products targeting the local population. For Australia and New Zealand, we already have a team in Sydney working on this. In the next three years, all our new launches will start bearing fruit increasing our market share in the region significantly. In the next five to seven years, we should be a leading local player in these markets. In line with our corporate philosophy and goal, to become a leading player at a global level will be possible once we are localised and mainstream across markets.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/08/30/Untitled-1_34.jpg?itok=0iLtWAzb
'A Flying Jatt' flies average; 'Rustom' touches Rs 115 cr

A Flying Jatt a film with Tiger Shroff playing a superhero, aimed at children, gets an average opening response and meets with mixed reactions. Besides trying to imitate Hollywood superhero films, the casting of the gigantic foreign actor, Nathan Jones, as villain also makes the film’s superhero,...

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/08/29/Untitled-1_2.jpg?itok=Q-no8pCs
Zee Anmol Cinema to launch on DD Freedish

MUMBAI: Free to air (FTA) is the new buzzword in television, especially considering how well the non-pay TV channels are doing. Adding another one to its channel cluster is Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL). It is to soon launch its new FTA Hindi movie channel, Zee Anmol Cinema on...

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/08/27/Venice.jpg?itok=Meyg90Sz
New Hindi film to have world premiere at Venice International Film Festival

NEW DELHI: The Hindi film 'Mukti Bhavan' (Hotel Salvation) by Shubhashish Bhutiani is to have its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival on 2 September.

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/08/26/A-Flying-Jatt1.jpg?itok=LuNFb-9V
'A Flying Jatt' is passable kid stuff

The producers of A Flying Jatt, Balaji Motion Pictures, takes a total diversion with this film. From their earlier blend of films with mainly adult themes, they have moved to a film that caters to children and the preteen lot. Complately inspired by foreign superhero films, A Flying Jatt keeps...

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/08/25/Twenty%20films.jpg?itok=JlKIXg7l
First official competitive BRICS film festival next month to have twenty films

NEW DELHI: Twenty films – four each from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are to feature in the first government level BRICS Film Festival toi be held in here early next month. Malayalam movie Veeram will be the opening film for the festival being held from 2 to 6 September at Siri...

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/08/23/Untitled-1_50.jpg?itok=CN3YXXwg
Centre mulls giving financial help to states to help preserve cinema culture

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is exploring possibilities of extending financial and technical support to State Governments in their efforts to safeguard the country’s film heritage, as Secretary Ajay Mittal said “the objective of preserving the country’s cinematic heritage has to be...

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/08/23/rustom.jpg?itok=tx6zL0-L
'Rustom' beats 'Mohenjo Daro'; collects Rs 90 cr

MUMBAI: Happy Bhag Jayegi a comic romance with yet another story on India Pakistan integration, find favour with metro audience catering to select multiplex crowd. With a good word of mouth, the film’s addition to its opening day figures is noticeable. The film opened with Rs 2.3 crore on Friday...

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/08/22/Untitled-1_20.jpg?itok=9ltm43A6
Swachh Bharat Short Films Competition to encourage participative approach for Clean India

The Government, which is planning a national survey from January next to review the effects of its Swachhta Abhiyaan, is organizing a Short Films Competition on the theme “Swachh Bharat” that showcases inspiring stories and helps generate awareness among citizens about sanitation and its linkages...

Movies Hindi
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/08/19/Untitled-1_7.jpg?itok=NaplgDpF
Happy Bhag Jayegi, Unindian: blending of different cultures dominate cinemas this week

There are quite a few films around stories of India-Pakistan cross connections and some seem to benefit both Hindi as well as Pakistani industries as the trans-border themes find more acceptance because of commonality in cultures and could help create a common market.

Movies Hindi

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories